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Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

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Overview Belgium (Flemish Community)

Contents

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and learning in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-Flemish-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Legislation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Glossary

2016

Action Plan Culture and Education

On 14 October 2016 the Flemish Government approved the action plan ‘Culture and Education: Together for more and better’. The aim of the plan is to enhance cooperation between education and culture.

The action plan aspires to offer every child and adolescent, regardless of their home environment and socio-economic background, opportunities to enjoy culture. In order to reach this goal culture must be addressed more often within education and classroom practices need to be inspired more by culture. Culture must be integrated in education not merely in subjects such as music or aesthetics, but also in other subjects such as science or languages.

The plan proposes actions within three areas:

  1. information and communication,
  2. training, educational and networking opportunities and
  3. content deepening.

Encouraging entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial initiative

Flanders continues to work on stimulating entrepreneurship and a sense for entrepreneurial initiative. On 10 June 2016 the finalised action plan ‘Entrepreneurial education 2015-2019’ (‘Ondernemend onderwijs 2015-2019’) was presented to the Flemish Government. With this plan, which is a joint undertaking by the policy domains of Education, Work, Economics and Agriculture, Flanders wants to continue stimulating the development of entrepreneurship and a sense for entrepreneurial initiative via education.

Schools are encouraged to allow their teachers to take part in a work placement in a company. Also in school year 2016-2017 teachers who take part in a work placement can therefore free of charge apply for replacing teaching activities for their pupils. These activities, which are tailored to the target group, encourage entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial initiative with the pupils or motivate them to think about the topic of entrepreneurship. All teachers from secondary education can apply for these replacing activities for up to five working days.

Enhancing (digital) literacy and media literacy

The Strategic Plan on Enhancing Literacy 2012-2016 is being evaluated in 2016, for the purpose of extending or renewing the plan.

Structural cooperation with the knowledge centre for media literacy (Mediawijs.be) is prioritised on: image literacy, gaming, taking on cyber bullying and taking on radicalisation. It is financed by the department of Education and Training. The centre also organises media coach training for teachers and other actors in education. Furthermore they are partners in the development of a new competency model for media and image literacy.

Language Policy

Efforts on strengthening the language policy in education continue in 2016. In addition, the implementation of recently introduced measures is being monitored.

Research on “Multilingualism as a Reality at School” yielded results early 2016. The complex reality of multilingual pupils in schools was the object of this research. Perceptions of different actors (teachers, managers and pupils) were plotted against reality. The outcome were different roadmaps to constructively use this multilingual reality, supporting the students’ learning process. Results will be made public during a seminar in October 2016.

A more ambitious formulation of the attainment targets of foreign languages (French, English, German) will be discussed in the context of the debate on the attainment targets (see 14.2.1.2).

The concept note 'Measures for primary education and the first stage of secondary education', which was approved by the Flemish Government at the end of May 2016, wants to strengthen language education in primary education. The note foresees the option of language initiation in French, English or German from the first year of primary education. From the third school year onwards this can develop in fully-fledged foreign language education.

2015

STEM

Flanders continues to make efforts to rouse the interest of pupils, and in particular of girls, for STEM-programmes in secondary and higher education. Attention for STEM in primary and secondary education will be strengthened. By use of a better cooperation between schools, teacher training programmes and the STEM-academies STEM will also receive more attention in the training and continuous professional development of teachers. Creating larger societal support for STEM with the broader public is another goal of the Flemish policy on STEM.

In April 2015 a new version of the STEM-monitor was published. This instrument monitors the STEM action plan 2012-2020 on the basis of a number of indicators. It provides insight in evolutions of relevant STEM-indicators on the intake, continuation and outflow data on pupils, course participants and students. The evolutions, which are updated every two years, are compared with the data of the reference year 2010-2011.

Also in school year 2015-2016 a number of (new) initiatives on STEM are on the table:

  • the introduction of the portal site STEM which collects all information on STEM opportunities and initiatives;
  • the elaboration of a Frame of Reference for STEM in education, which gives an answer to the question “What is (good) STEM?”;
  • the organisation of continued professional development for primary schools, of a STEM target group policy and of STEM in technical and vocational secondary education;
  • the drafting of STEM-didactics for primary education by the Interexpertise Network of Teacher Training Programmes
  • the further development of STEM-didactics for the second and third stages of secondary education;
  • the organisation of a Day for Knowledge Sharing for primary education on 23 October 2015, where teachers can share their knowledge on STEM.

Besides these concrete projects the policy level choose to pursue a STEM-policy directed towards specific target groups and for a focus on the societal impact of STEM. An explicit target group policy allows to specifically address girls. 

Encouraging entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial initiative

Flanders continues to work on stimulating entrepreneurship and a sense for entrepreneurial initiative. On 11 December 2015 the updated action plan ‘Entrepreneurial education 2015-2019’ (‘Ondernemend onderwijs 2015-2019’) was presented to the Flemish Government. With this plan - which is a joint effort by the policy domains of Education and training, Work and social economy, Agriculture and fishery, and Economics, science and innovation – Flanders wants to continue stimulating the development of entrepreneurship and a sense for entrepreneurial initiative via education.

Enhancing (digital) literacy and media literacy

Flanders aims at enhancing the literacy level in the region. Specific attention is hereby paid amongst others to youngster who leave education early and to people in poverty who face difficulties to enter formal education. In addition, Flanders is working on enhancing digital literacy and media literacy.

Also in 2015 the Strategic Plan on Enhancing Literacy 2012-2016 is further implemented. Work also continues on the eSafety Label project, which was launched on 10 February 2015 at the occasion of the Safer Internet Day. TheeSafety Label is a project by the European Schoolnet and was established in cooperation with the ministries of education in Flanders, Italy, Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Spain and a number of prominent companies (Kaspersky Lab, Telenet, Microsoft, Telefonica). The project supports schools in the creation of a safe learning environment and the promotion of a safe and responsible use of ICT. At the end of June 2015 a communication campaign on the eSafety Label was finalized.

Also in June 2015 in the framework of more structural cooperation with the Knowledge Centre on Media Literacy the themes for cooperation projects in 2015 and 2016 were laid down. 

From September 2016 new programme profiles will be introduced in secondary adult education for ICT, network management and programming. The new profiles are necessary to allow the ICT-programmes to respond better to the needs and expectations of the course participants. The new programme profiles were developed in school year 2014-2015, whereby the Digital Competences Frameworkof the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) was used as a frame of reference.

Language policy

On 1 September 2014 a number of measures to enhance the language competence of Dutch and the knowledge of foreign languages in Flanders (language screening, language pathway, language immersion, extra language classes and CLIL) became operational. In 2015 efforts on strengthening the language policy in education continue. In addition, the recently introduced measures will be monitored.

On 29 January 2015 the Flemish Education Council (VLOR) issued an advice on the language regulation in higher education. In addition to pleading for a radical simplification the council pressed for a number of measures deemed necessary by the institutions to improve the current regulation. Following this advice the language regulation in higher education will be examined further and possible initiatives for a simplification of the legal framework will be discussed.

Research is currently being carried out on the educational offer for non-Dutch speaking newcomers in primary and secondary education. This research will offer insight in the impact of the educational offer on the school careers of non-Dutch speaking newcomers and on the school and pupil characteristics that influence these school careers. 

Flanders is currently also examining which courses of action are possible to give greater publicity to the opportunities in primary education to provide language initiation in English, French and German when pupils master Dutch to a sufficient level. 

Schools will be encouraged to pursue an active language policy. In this context an inventory of existing instruments which can support schools in the development of such a policy will be finalized in the autumn of 2015. Organisations of continuous professional development, school advisory services and organisations of teacher training programmes will cooperate on this matter.

A more ambitious formulation of the attainment targets of the foreign languages (French, English, German) will be discussed in the context of the debate on the attainment targets, which is planned in the Flemish Parliament in the autumn of 2015 (please see …).

2014

Action Plan STEM 2012-2020

For many years now the Flemish labour market is confronted with a structural shortage of technical profiles and exact scientists. In order to address this issue the Flemish Government took note of the Action Plan STEM (science, technology, engineering en mathematics) on 20 January 2012. The aim of the plan is to incite more students to choose for a career in exact sciences or technology. The Flemish minister of Education and Training is responsible for the coordination of this strategic interministerial plan which runs from 2012 until 2020.

In 2014 measures were taken which fit within the framework of the STEM action plan (see also 14.5.3.1. ‘Implementation STEM action plan in 2013’ and 14.5.1.1. ‘Implementation STEM action plan in 2015’).

In the framework of the action plan the STEM academy was established. The STEM-academy is a network which clusters all extracurricular STEM activities in Flanders. The network is coordinated by Technopolis. By clustering all extracurricular STEM activities on a portal site a larger audience and more potential participants are reached. The STEM academy aims at starting up new activities in order for more children to participate in a STEM activity within their region.

Also as part of the STEM action plan support on technology was provided to teachers in primary education. This happened amongst others by providing technology coaches in addition to subject teachers for sciences and technology. Technology coaches, who often come from within the corporate world, develop together with the school team a programme on technology and science. The final goal is to rouse pupils’ interest in technology and science, so they will choose a future professional career in these sectors.

Also the attention paid to work-based learning (see also 14.3.1.2. ‘Concept note ‘Work-based Learning’’, 14.3.1.1. ‘Evaluation of parliamentary act on work-based learning’ and 14.3.2.1. ‘Compulsory pupil traineeships in fulltime secondary education’) contributes to reaching the objectives of the STEM action plan.

Implementation of the concept note on languages ‘Samen taalgrenzen verleggen’

In July 2011 the Flemish Government approved the concept note ‘Samen taalgrenzen verleggen’ from the then Flemish minister for Education and Training, Mr. Pascal Smet. Since a good knowledge of Dutch is crucial for a successful and motivating school career the note on languages provided for various initiatives on enhancing the knowledge of the Dutch language. Other actions in the concept note are aimed at enhancing the knowledge of foreign languages, which is considered a cultural wealth and a precondition for social and economic mobility. A couple of actions and initiatives from the concept note were incorporated in Education parliamentary act XXIII (adopted on 19 July 2013) and have been put into effect on 1 September 2014.

 One of the main factors leading to delays in the school career and to early school leaving is a limited or even absent knowledge of Dutch – the language of instruction in the Flemish Community. For this reason sufficient attention is paid to monitoring the knowledge of Dutch and to adapt the provision of Dutch language training to the needs of the pupil. Schools are expected to perform a wide screening of all children who enter for the first time in regular primary or secondary education in order to map their proficiency in Dutch. To this aim a “Toolkit Wide Evaluation Competences Dutch” has been developed which, on the principles of broad evaluation, offers a set of valid and reliable instruments to teachers and schools to measure the competences of Dutch. After this evaluation a school can set up a language trajectory tailor-made for each pupil individually. Remediation within regular classes is possible, but primary schools may also choose to organise language immersion classes, which offer intensive trainings of Dutch. Secondary schools may oblige Dutch classes after school for those pupils who do not master the Dutch language sufficiently to take part in the regular classes.

 As concerns the policy on foreign languages schools are able to offer from 1 September 2014 the subject of French from the third year (second stage) of regular primary school. As introduced in 2004 the subject of French remains obligatory from the third stage (year 5) of primary education. Also foreign languages other than French, such as English – as an important world language – or German – as the third official language in Belgium – can be offered as initiation. Other languages may no longer be instructed in primary education. From 2014-2015 onwards schools in fulltime and part-time regular secondary education on the other hand may offer all living languages as the subject ‘modern foreign languages’ within the curriculum.

Education Parliamentary Act XXIII also provides for Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). This allowed for a former pilot project to be implemented in all interested secondary schools from 1 September 2014 onwards. A school implementing CLIL may teach up to 20% of all non-language subjects, such as geography, mathematics or physical education, in French, English or German. 

The quality of a language policy is determined by the competences, material and staffing of those in front of the classroom. Therefore the language note pays a lot of attention to a rich language environment for teachers. To motivate each school to invest in languages, policy instruments will be developed to support them in the development and implementation of such policy, e.g. a quality charter for inclusive and divers language policy. In addition, agreements have been made with the French and German-speaking communities of Belgium in order to facilitate the exchange of native speakers (teachers). 

 Additional information (in Dutch) on the Toolkit and CLIL may be found on the website.

New regulation subject to poverty test

On 14 March 2014 the Flemish Government decided to introduce a poverty test for new Flemish policy measures. New regulation may not exclude people in poverty, or create new poverty. Therefore policy makers must verify whether the decisions they take will not result in unforeseen effects on people in poverty.

The poverty test takes place in two steps: a quick scan checks whether an effect on people in poverty is to be expected. If yes, a second step is implemented, which consists of a more thorough poverty test.

The test is integrated in the already existing ‘Regulation Impact Analysis’ (RIA). The RIA is a set of necessary and logical steps which are taken when preparing new policy measures. It constitutes a structured process which weighs up the expected positive and negative effects of the various policy options.